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Project 13 and World Economic Forum united in drive for new infrastructure delivery model

Adam Kirkup
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2021 will see continuing impetus in the partnership between Project 13, the World Economic Forum and the Engineering and Construction Risk Institute to improve the quality and performance of infrastructure projects through the adoption of collaborative delivery models.

Project 13 was initiated by the UK’s Infrastructure Client Group. In partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF),  Project 13 aims to help underpin collaboration, particularly as the world looks to infrastructure investment as an important part of the recovery from Covid-19.

Governments looking to stimulate economies via infrastructure investment will want to make sure every penny counts. Old-school transactional, confrontational procurement will not deliver on that aim and the WEF is advocating a fresh approach.

Oliver Tsai, platform curator at the World Economic Forum, said: “In our discussions with industry and government leaders about key objectives for the infrastructure sector, limitations of the conventional delivery model have consistently been identified as a challenge to improving outcomes in sustainability, resilience and technological innovation.”

Following the 2020 annual meeting in Davos, the WEF launched its Collaborative Infrastructure Delivery Initiative , which seeks to address imbalances in risk sharing under current contract structures and improve collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The WEF has partnered with Project 13 and the Engineering and Construction Risk Institute to advance the adoption of best practice in collaborative infrastructure delivery. The partnership between the World Economic Forum and Project 13 was officially announced in May 2020.

Under this initiative, a series of online panel discussions and workshops to promote collaborative principles and the Project 13 approach among international project owners, engineering and construction companies, clients, partners and other industry stakeholders started in May 2020. It will continue in March 2021 with a panel consisting of infrastructure financiers and investors.

The elements of Project 13 that will particularly help to meet the WEF’s ambitions are:

  • Its focus on delivering better asset performance through a focus on outcomes rather than price
  • Its collaborative procurement approach, using aligned supply chains to work together as an enterprise set up to deliver on those outcomes
  • Its ability to better allocate risk.

Tsai said:  “An imbalance in risk allocation between public and private sectors under traditional contract structures poses a significant challenge to effective delivery and performance of infrastructure projects and it inhibits much needed innovation in the industry."

The aims of the joint programme are to build a global community of proponents of collaborative delivery, to improve understanding of the challenges involved and to investigate and prioritise solutions needed to drive reforms in the infrastructure sector.

Through the workshops, the WEF is aiming to build a community of advocates of collaborative delivery models. The intention is to work with all parts of the value chain in recognition that the change demanded requires a joined-up response. There will be a focus on specific groups or geographies where appropriate, with feedback from each workshop informing the next steps as an ongoing development process.

 “We are delighted that the Project 13 principles first set out by the Infrastructure Client Group are resonating with the global infrastructure community,” said Project 13 Chair Dale Evans. “The WEF partnership provides us with the opportunity to increase the potential sources of learning that will benefit all Project 13 practitioners.”

 Project 13 was launched in the UK in 2018 by the Infrastructure Client Group – a community of the UK’s most progressive infrastructure investors, government and industry.

Along with the WEF, Project 13 has been adopted by clients including Network Rail, the Environment Agency, Heathrow, National Grid, Openreach, Anglian Water, East West Rail, Yorkshire Water, Sellafield Ltd, Sydney Water and British Antarctic Survey.

About Project 13

Project 13 aims to shift the delivery of infrastructure to focus more clearly on outcomes for society. Achieving this will also help to boost productivity and certainty in delivery and to support a more sustainable, innovative, highly skilled construction industry.

Key to it is the adoption of enterprise delivery models for infrastructure programmes and projects, moving from transactional, cost-driven procurement to value-driven, collaborative enterprises.

Project 13 is underpinned by a framework of five capability pillars: capable owner, enterprise governance, organisation, integration and digital transformation. There are associated Project 13 principles and a maturity matrix  that explains the journey necessary for participating organisations.

Project 13 and the Infrastructure Client Group are hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

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